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More Trouble in Zimbabwe Gov't as Lawmaker of PM Tsvangirai's Party Arrested

Chitungwiza legislator Marvellous Khumalo told VOA that during a public forum on the new constitution he was set upon by ZANU-PF youth who said he had insulted President Mugabe during a discussion of Western sanctions

The Movement for Democratic Change formation of Zimbabwe Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has raised an alarm following the arrest of a House member from its ranks and the severe beating of another MDC legislator by alleged ZANU-PF supporters at a public forum on the constitution in a Harare hotel.

Spokesman Nelson Chamisa of the Tsvangirai MDC formation said the incidents have shaken the foundations of the troubled government of national unity.

Police confirmed that Ian Kay, who represents the Marondera Central constituency some 75 kilometers east of the capital and is the only white member of the House of Assembly, was arrested early Friday.

Police searched Kay's home in Harare's Helensvale suburb saying they were looking for arms and drugs. They said the search was ordered after Kay donated expired pharmaceuticals to clinics in Marondera and Mutoko.

The MDC issued a statement saying Kay has been arrested on “ trumped-up charges of possessing illegal and expired drugs.” It added: “Six police officers from the Harare [Criminal Investigation Division] drugs section raided his house in Helensvale, Harare, in search of the drugs but found nothing. Ironically, they arrested him. He is currently detained at the Harare Central Police Station.”

Kay’s wife Kerry told VOA Studio 7 reporter Blessing Zulu that the police action shocked the family, warning that the incident indicated the cycle of violence against the opposition was starting up again.

Elsewhere, legislator Marvellous Khumalo, legislator for the St. Mary’s constituency of Chitungwiza, a satellite town 25 kilometers south of the capital Harare, was said to have been severely beaten late Thursday at the New Ambassador Hotel in Harare during a public meeting of the Youth Agenda Trust on the constitutional revision process.

Khumalo, a panelist at the public forum, told VOA that he was set upon by ZANU-PF youth who said he had insulted President Robert Mugabe during a discussion of Western sanctions.

Elsewhere, the MDC said the party's district chairman for Mount Darwin North, Mashonaland Central province, had been abducted by armed ZANU-PF militia members late Wednesday and his whereabouts remained unknown.

Mount Darwin North party information secretary George Masveta said at about 10 armed men descended upon Magonye's homestead on Wednesday night, dragged him out of his house and took him away.

In Manicaland province, the trial of Mutasa North legislator Pishayi Muchauraya on charges he insulted President Mugabe was put off indefinitely on Friday when the state said it was not ready to proceed.

Authorities issued a summons to Muchauraya last week obliging him to appear before a Mutare magistrate's court for allegedly insulting Mugabe at a rally in Manicaland in 2002.

But Muchauraya has dismissed the allegations, ‘To be frank, I cannot recall any police case against me dating back to that period. This is pure harassment by ZANU-PF using state resources